I have been fortunate enough to work in the financial services industry for more than 14 years and boy, have things changed during that time. Rules and regulations are constantly being enforced only to be replaced and updated, keeping us all on our toes.

However, there is one aspect of the industry that is not regulated, and that is technology. No one is forced to adopt tools and apps to change the way investments are done. Rather, advisers can do as they wish – at least for as long as there is no real benefit from adopting change.

As with other technological advancements, like the smartphone or email, sooner or later the cost of NOT changing is higher than the cost of adopting something new, and so we cave.

This recent meme speaks volumes:

Before you get flustered by the memory of being coerced into getting rid of your fax machine, remember that adequate preparation can help you overcome some of the more daunting challenges that come with transition.

We are here to help – always

To gain insight into how the wealth management sector is dealing with the ever-changing world of technology, especially tools made specifically for the wealth managers, I spoke to Wesley Fung from Paradigm Shift Financial Solutions and Phillip November from Standard Wealth and Investments, two local advisors who both use the tech at their disposal for nearly every aspect of their business.

Phillip, who has been in the industry for years and closely follows the effect of tech on the industry, broke down technology’s impact on the wealth management sector into three sections. Tech helps advisers:

  1. automate many processes which used to be manual (i.e. so they can do things faster);
  2. augment current offers to clients (i.e. so they can do more), and;
  3. personalise services through better data use (i.e. so they can do things better).

Always discovering easier ways of doing business through tech, Wesley’s outlook is very similar. “The tools available for advisers are enabling them to go on a journey with the client, from start to death – and beyond (with heirs), creating a more robust, sustainable business.”

“I truly believe that FinTech will take over the ‘advice process’ in the very near future,” he explains. “It will assist in weeding out bad advice from unqualified advisers and turning the industry into a more professional, more meaningful one that clients will want to partner with.”

The influence of clients

It’s not only the wealth manager who is being influenced. Both Wesley and Phillip noted how technology is creating a greater awareness within clients, too, by providing readily-available information at their fingertips.

“It is educating them quicker than, for example, individual, one-on-one consults or mass email communication,” states Wesley. “In return, this is keeping advisers nimble and on their toes which is why it’s important for advisers to be plugged into the environment as a whole, all the time.”

Technology of the future

“With advancing technology, clients expect more from the industry as they compare their experience with Amazon, Apple and other companies across industries,” insists Phillip. “I expect clients will demand greater transparency and financial planners who can offer more than just asset allocation and product sales. Automated, augmented and personalised technology offerings are the new benchmark.”

“Clients already expect real-time information and a much friendlier user interface – and in the next 5-10 years, I expect to see the further rise of robo-advisory businesses locally following the trend from the UK and USA,” says Phillip.

Wesley, on the other hand, sees the industry “taken by storm with a one-portal interface which will allow your adviser to dive deep into your financials with you merely giving him permission”. He explains how these portals will provide advisers with enough information to make concise, practical decisions at every point so as to ensure that they are getting closer to their client’s over-arching financial goals, all the time.

One example of how this could work is when your client purchases a car. Before they have made their decision, they should be able to plug in the data and the tool will automatically check it against their monthly cash flow, calculate the total interest payable over time, the effect/sacrifice it will make to their overall goals and then provide them with a YES or NO answer. And, if they choose yes, an accompanying disclaimer won’t hurt.

“My personal goal is to be as dynamic and as flexible to my clients’ needs as possible,” says Wesley. “I’m already moving into a paperless environment where we can conclude business within a matter of minutes/seconds as opposed to day/hours.”

Saying goodbye to Susan

Convinced it’s time to leave Susan behind and join us in the year 2018? If you’re not sure where to start, check out our Digital Tools Series to discover a broad range of tools and apps that your business can adopt to streamline operations, culture and even communication.

If it’s INN8’s Offshore Platform that intrigues you, contact us today and we will help you every step of the way.

An experienced account specialist, Xavier has over 20 years’ experience in the financial services industry. He is currently a Business Development Manager at INN8 where he does a good job looking after Wealth Managers and Key Accounts, making sure that INN8 finds the right opportunities to grow our business, as well as that of our wealth partners.